DfT incompetence

08 November 2016

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has condemned the Conservative government’s decision to delay four big projects on the Great Western route.

Mick said: ‘The decision to defer the electrification of the line between Oxford and Didcot Parkway; of Filton Bank (Bristol Parkway to Bristol Temple Meads); west of Thingley Junction (Bath Spa to Bristol Temple Meads); and the Thames Valley branches (Henley & Windsor) is another blow to Britain’s railway industry and another example of the DfT’s incompetence. Who’s asleep at the wheel this time? The government decided to sneak out the decision by means of a written statement by Paul Maynard, so we know they’re embarrassed. And so they should be. Passengers and businesses desperately need the government to deliver what it promised, and help build the modern railway Britain needs. We need the investment to provide more services, faster and more reliable services, to reduce the problems of overcrowding, and stimulate economic growth.’

Amyas Morse, of the National Audit Office, also criticised the government today,saying, ‘The modernisation of the route has potential to deliver significant benefits for passengers but this is a case study in how not to manage a major programme. The Department of Transport’s failure to plan and manage all the projects which now make up the Great Western route modernisation industry programme, in a sufficiently joined up way, has led to additional costs for the taxpayer.’

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